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Interval Training

This form of training is for individuals who are serious about dropping body fat and improving the functional output of their cardiovascular system. It is not advised for the unconditioned to participate in interval training until a stress test has been performed or adequate cardio efficiency has been developed. 

Interval Training or “HIIT” is a form of training that is getting a lot of publicity lately. Interval training is quickly becoming a modality of choice to increase cardiovascular efficiency. (Mayo Clinic 2009) There is evidence stating that this type of training is more effective for inducing fat loss than longer duration steady state cardio. Simply put, interval training is High intensity work alternated with rest or periods of low intensity work. These bursts of high intensity training are at near maximum exertion or the Anaerobic Zone (80%-90% of max heart rate). The challenge has been that people want a program designed to deliver Maximum benefits, in the least amount of time, with the least amount of lifestyle interruption. 

The healthcare and fitness professionals must create programs for fat loss, max caloric expenditure that delivers cardiovascular efficiency, while meeting the criteria that people want. Interval training delivers on all fronts. Interval training can be performed with any modality of cardio and is very simple to perform. I would suggest utilizing a heart rate monitor to gauge the intensity of your workouts, find a mode that you love and have fun. Most workouts take around 30 minutes including warm up and cool down. The beauty of interval training is you can pick and choose how long you want your intervals to be. Have fun with it! If you perform cardio outside, use visual cues such as street signs to determine your intervals. If you listen to music you can also let musical cues prompt you when to speed up or slow down. The one constant is that during periods of high intensity is that you reach at least 80%-90% of your Max heart rate and that in your periods of low intensity your heart rate comes back down to around 50% of your max heart rate. This process allows you to take advantage of EPOC. Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption.  This process is when your body takes in more oxygen to replace the oxygen debt created during the high intensity bouts of exercise. This is why after a sprint you breathe or (pant) afterwards. By replenishing this debt of oxygen your body will return to a resting state. EPOC is accompanied by your body utilizing more fuel in response to exercise, breaking down fat stores and FFA’s are released into the bloodstream. This process causes your body to burn more calories and studies have shown that EPOC leads to a higher loss of subcutaneous fat (fat between skin and muscle)EPOC also has an effect on resting metabolism, experiment found EPOC increased RMR by  13% three hours after exercise, and 4% after 16 hours.  (Schuenke MD, Mikat RP, McBride JM March 2002). So, it should be the goal of all cardio programs aimed at losing fat to utilize EPOC. EPOC makes Interval training far superior for fat loss over long duration steady state cardio. 




Interval Training Basic -Should be performed by a beginner 2-3 x a week making sure to have rest days in between workouts. The total duration including warm ups is between 12 -18 minutes. A beginner should remain in this phase 4-6 weeks. Each week add one more moderate to high intensity interval. Your heart rate should be around -70%-80% if you are a beginner at interval training. 

  • 3 – 5 minutes warm-up (light jog, low intensity, gradually increasing at the end of the warm up period) 
  • 1 minute moderate or high intensity followed by 1 minute low intensity (repeat 6-8 times) 
  • 3 – 5 minutes cool down (light jog, low intensity, gradually decreasing by the end of the cool down period) 

Interval Training Intermediate- During this phase the intensity will increase and the duration of each cardio session will also increase.  This workout should be performed 2-3 times a week for 4 -6 weeks. After week 1 it is ok to increase the time you spend in the max effort zone by a few seconds. Listen to your body 

  • 3 – 5 minutes warm-up 
  • 30 seconds Max effort zone– 90%-100, 1 minute Fitness Zone- 60%-70% 
  • 45 seconds Max effort zone– 90%-100, 1 minute Fitness Zone- 60%-70% 
  • 60 seconds Max effort zone– 90%-100, 1 minute Fitness Zone- 60%-70% 
  • 90 seconds Max effort zone– 90%-100, 1 minute Fitness Zone- 60%-70% 
  • 60 seconds Max effort zone– 90%-100, 1 minute Fitness Zone- 60%-70% 
  • 45 seconds Max effort zone– 90%-100, 1 minute Fitness Zone- 60%-70% 
  • 30 seconds Max effort zone– 90%-100 
  • 3 – 5 minutes cool down 

Interval Training Advanced- This is a very advanced training program aimed at increasing your cardiovascular output. If you are someone who is looking for a real challenge this workout will deliver. This workout should be performed 2-3 times a week. 

  • 3 – 5 minutes warm-up 
  • 2 minutes Max effort zone– 90%-100 followed by 2 minutes  Fitness Zone- 60%-70% (repeat once) 
  • 30 seconds Max effort zone– 90%-100% high intensity followed by 30 seconds Fitness Zone- 60%-70% (repeat four times) 
  • 10 Second Sprints followed by 90 seconds rest (repeat 6 – 10 times) 
  • 3- 5 min Cool down


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